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HP Completes Massive Poly Deal To Boost Hybrid Offerings

Shane Snider

HP completes the $3.3 billion deal and names Poly CEO Dave Schull as HP’s president of Workforce Services and Solutions starting Nov. 1.

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HP Inc. Monday announced the completion of its blockbuster acquisition of peripheral and videoconferencing giant Poly, a move that HP hopes will shore up more hybrid work business as employers look for more at-home videoconferencing solutions.

“This is a historic day for our business as we mark the union of two iconic companies that are innovating at the heart of hybrid work,” HP CEO Enrique Lores said in a statement. “Poly brings incredibly strong talent, differentiated technology and a complementary go-to-market system that we believe will further strengthen our position in large and growing markets. Together, we will have vast opportunities to innovate for customers and grow our business as we continue building a stronger HP.”

Harry Zarek, founder of Ontario, Canada-based solution provider Compugen, said there are many ways the Poly acquisition could enhance HP’s offerings. “It’s really a brilliant move,” he told CRN in an interview. “It transforms HP from a device dealer to a core participant in collaboration—a fast-growing essential segment of business engagement. We currently partner with Poly and they are a very capable video provider.”

Zarek said he can see the acquisition providing video and sound improvements in HP’s core notebook lines as well. “That’s the first thing I’d love to see,” he said. “I think [Poly] can dramatically improve the quality of in-notebook video and sound and really deliver a state-of-the-art experience. It’s all very aligned to the focus that HP identified around the hybrid experience.”

According to an HP survey, 75 percent of office workers are investing to improve their home setups, and traditional offices are also being planned with hybrid work and collaboration in mind. There are currently more than 90 million office rooms and less than 10 percent have video capability. That leaves a huge market open as the office meeting room solutions segment is expected to triple by 2024.

“As ideas around the role of the traditional office continue to shift, there is a critical need for organizations to enable rich collaboration experiences between in-person and remote workers,” Patrick Moorhead, CEO and chief analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, said in a statement. “Combining Poly and HP is a win-win for both organizations. More importantly, uniting these two companies will provide end users with the essential hardware software and services to successfully navigate hybrid work experiences now and into the future.”

Poly brings videoconferencing offerings, cameras, headsets, voice and software to HP. At HP’s Amplify Executive Forum event last week, HP leaders all stressed the importance of hybrid work to the company’s future.

“I am totally convinced, and we are totally convinced at HP, that hybrid work is here to say,” Lores said during his presentation to media, analysts, and top channel partners in the room. “I don’t know any company that has decided or convinced their employees that they need to be back in the office five days per week, every week of the month. People are going to continue to work from both the home and from the office and this is a tremendous opportunity for us.”

While Poly CEO Dave Schull will lead the Workforce Services and Solutions business, Andy Rhodes, who previously led HP’s Personal Systems business, will run the combined HP-Poly business as general manager, Hybrid Work Solutions and Peripherals. Rhodes will report to HP Personal Systems President Alex Cho.

HP completed the Poly deal as an all-cash transaction of $40 per share, implying a total enterprise value of $3.3 billion, including Poly’s debt. The transaction was financed through a combination of balance sheet cash and new debt.

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Shane Snider

Shane Snider is a senior associate editor covering personal computing, mobile devices, semiconductor news, hardware reviews, breaking news and live events. Shane is a veteran journalist, having worked for newspapers in upstate New York and North Carolina. He can be reached at ssnider@thechannelcompany.com.

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